The beginning of the end
3rd June, 2015 :- As the reflection of the sun’s rays drew shorter on the famous Eiffel Tower, it looked this love story had seen its twilight, no longer the courts of Roland Garros would see my love lifting Coupe des Mousquetaire. A heart-broken fan in me wrote this swan-song : The French love story, coming back from this humiliation would be tough even for this all time comeback king.
Just like cliché of other love stories, a loose end bringing down years of trust in a relationship, it seemed the trust on his most relied weapon- forehand was lost. No longer he was feared, rather the one-time predator was being hunted in his own backyard by unheralded preys. Losses came in succession, whether being owned by a qualifier Brown at SW19 in the second round, or squandering a two set lead against Fognini in the late hours at Flushing Meadows, it was so uncharacteristic of Nadal going down without a fight.
The losses weren’t worrying rather the it was the way he went down, it seemed the whole world was crashing down and the relationship reached a point of no repair. The tennis season 2015 ended and so did the pain, a break was more than welcome, after all the silence between the love birds was calmer than the sufferings.
Another failed attempt
New year, new beginnings, new hopes ; we decided to give this tale another shot, not raising our hopes high, taking small baby steps. Our motto was to be ourselves at Melbourne, even a small win down under would be a welcome sign rekindling back this love-story. Just when we thought it had begun, it came thumping against an old foe in Verdasco and the Aussie Open turned into a mere fiasco. The loss was hard to digest and we both separated on different paths, our hearts full of sorrow and there was nothing left apart from some time to be borrowed.
Despite being away from watching him play on the television set, the fan in me was well aware of his Miami and Indiana Well outings. It wasn’t for the hope seeing him win the titles back again rather witnessing the final rites before it was all over. While he took two steps forwards with his display, the timid loss in hands of Djokovic reminded me of the old woeful state of affairs.
He was back to where it all began, the red clay of Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid before the much awaited Paris sighting. A poor performance on the coveted clay-courts would signal the final nail in his coffin, a good fight against the current best would indicate that there is still some life left in the Clay King.
Cometh Monte Carlo, while the fancied gladiators were caught off-guard, the fallen warrior escaped behind the hood, reaching the Masters final for a zillionth time. However, there was a strange feeling to this chapter, no longer the forehand was the weapon and the long rallies being the forte, Nadal was dominating on his backhand and cutting the points short before the opponent had a foot-hole in the points. Also rather watching him play live, the fan was a distant spectator who knew when we was playing, but let the live-score websites do the talking. Finally, after 2 years he won the Monte-Carlo crown for an unprecedented 8th time, more than joy it was a sigh of relief, this love story will have a few more tricks up our sleeves.
It’s early to jump the guns and the whole world will be following the remainder of the clay court battle to pick up their favorites . Perhaps there is a new chapter waiting to be added to this French love story, however for this hopeless romantic nothing is back to normalcy until he is back to his usual fluency.